Brooks left almost ten months ago, on a cold day, much like tonight, I suppose. It was so cold that we kept Little B in the car while we waited for the moment when we had to say goodbye. It’s never easy saying goodbye, and I won’t lie, experience hasn’t really taught me much about how to ease the pain, at that particular moment. And in a lot of ways, I’m not sure that I’d want it eased. It surely is what it is.

Tomorrow is our ten year anniversary. And like most of the anniversaries before this one, Brooks and I will spend the day far apart from the other. Ten years sounds like a long time, but it’s gone by so incredibly fast, when I really think about it. We were baby cats when we married. Still baby cats when we had our littlest Brooks. And I’m certain we still have a lot to learn in life.

I’m grateful that ten years of marriage, five deployments, two moves, and a Little Brooks have left us stronger and more in love than that day we both said I do. It wasn’t always easy. There were moments when I miserably failed at being Brooks’s wife and best friend, moments he failed too. But our moments of being each other’s perfect half have truly outweighed any of the less than stellar moments.

There was a particular moment, during Brooks’s second deployment when I found myself so tired of the deployments, with no break in sight (and in hindsight, I had three more to go through), that I I wailed like a baby. In my defense, I was at a bar with some of Brooks’s family members, and I certainly don’t hold my liquor very well. And we were all dancing and it made me so sad and I was just so tired of living my life without him, when all we’d wanted since we’d met was to never spend a moment apart. And so I wept.

I remember, later, when I sobered up, thinking that I was weak, and failing at this marriage thing. I was tired, mentally and physically. I missed my beau, but I knew that when he returned it wasn’t going to be easy either, and even that made me tired, because Brooks always knew even before coming home that he was going to leave again, and it always screwed with his head. And I didn’t know how to fix it, how to make it better, and so I felt like a failure.

When I stopped fighting what I couldn’t change things certainly got better. And realizing that being tired was okay gave me the peace to live life without over analyzing what was certainly natural. Those early deployments were like navigating through a crazy, scary forest with no moon in sight to light the way. All the spouses around me were doing their best to hide the fact that we were all going through the same thing, because we thought our situations were unique, and really, if we’d been less prideful, we’d have had some comfort in knowing it was pretty darn normal and that things were really going to be okay.

So, even though I find myself tired lately, I know there isn’t anything to be read into it. I’m human. Missing My Brooks is a good thing, even when it’s so painful it physically hurts. It doesn’t mean I’m weak or can’t handle a sixth deployment (though I certainly hope we get a bit of a break before our next long goodbye). It doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with our life or upset with Brooks’s service. It just means I’m human.

Because I know the truth.

I know that ten years of marriage, the good days and the bad, have shaped us, in a good way. I know that as bone tired as I am that tomorrow will be a better day. I’m lucky enough to be married to an amazing man who makes me laugh and smile and count my blessings. Who is never stingy with his words, has patience to spare, and who, aggravatingly enough, is always, always right. Who is missed beyond measure, always.

I’m looking forward to the next ten years, a lifetime after that.

For now, I’m looking forward to our latest homecoming, a true gift since it comes sooner than we’d expected.

As always, life remains sweet, regardless of the circumstance.

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